Hawaii declares health emergency to fight mosquitoes carrying Zika, dengue fever

Saturday, February 13, 2016
By Paul Martin

13 Feb, 2016

Hawaii has declared a state of emergency in a move to fight and prevent mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and the Zika virus, which the state’s governor called a threat to public health and welfare.

“We are doing everything we can to be prepared, to be proactive, to prevent vector-borne diseases here in Hawaii,” Gov. David Ige said in a proclamation he signed Friday.

So far, Hawaii has not seen cases of the Zika virus transmission, but it is on standby following a decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to put emergency centers on a Level 1 alert last week.

But there is an ongoing outbreak of dengue fever at Big Island, where there were more than 250 confirmed cases. One of the major concerns now is that mosquitoes that can carry dengue fever also can carry the Zika virus, which potentially puts the island at risk.

There are also flights between American Samoa, one of the Pacific islands affected by a Zika outbreak, and Hawaii.

“Hawaii Emergency Management Agency will be working with all the county mayors and the county civil defense coordinators to ensure that statewide we are ahead of the game and proactive in responding to vector-borne diseases,” the governor said.

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